Fatty Owls

Like many brides, I wanted our guests to have somewhere to stay when they came to the wedding. So, being the initiative-taking bride that I am, back in October, we booked a room block at a nearby hotel. It’s a hotel we walk by daily, is a 10 minute walk to our venue, and one that my parents have stayed in before when they’ve come out to visit. Nice and modern inside too, I was sure we could get some good photos there. We didn’t even look at any other hotels nearby, because they’re all super-fancy and probably $400 a night.

We signed a contract saying that guests who mentioned the code would get Friday and Saturday night at a rate of $129. Not too bad when the regular rate was $200 or something. The contract stated that our block of 10 rooms would be held, and the rate guaranteed until May 25th. Awesome! We just need to tell everyone to book early! We put the hotel’s phone number and other info on our invitations, because it was a done thing.

In February my mum phoned up this hotel to try to book a room for her and my dad, as well as 3 more rooms for various English family members. They’d decided it was easier to just book all those dates at once. All these people weren’t just staying the two nights, either! They’re all coming from Wednesday-Monday or so, so it was a significant amount of money to be spending in one place. She also though that by bringing them all this business in one fell swoop, that there could be a discount to be found in there. There was nothing. The person she talked to on the phone could not even knock off $5 per night. After a long time spent on a very un-helpful phone call, mum hung up and tried to see what her other options were.

The first place she checked was the fancy-pants hotel a few blocks away, the one Cinnamon Buns and I had poo-pooed because we thought it would cost an arm and a leg to stay there. Mum talked to a very helpful person on the phone who was very grateful for all the business she was bringing, and she got the cost of the rooms down to much less than our original hotel wanted to charge. At a nicer place! Go mum! She also booked a suite for two nights for me! (Me + bridesmaids one night, Me + hubby the second night!)

We didn’t think of changing our block book at hotel #1 though, because most of our other guests would only be staying the Friday and Saturday night, and the rate for those nights was fine.

At the very end of March, we sent out the invites with hotel #1”²s information on our info card, giving the phone number, the discount code, and a note to book by May 24th. We also put all the info on our wedding website, which was mentioned a few times on the invitation suite.

In the first week of April”¦we got a phone call. It was the nice man who’d shown me around the hotel and drawn up our contract. He let us know that no one had booked into our block yet, and wanted to know if our invitations were out yet? I said that we’d just sent them a week before, so people were probably starting to receive them. He said that the hotel was filling up on that weekend, so they better book soon. I really didn’t know what to say; I tend to freeze up on the phone when conversations get bad, so I think I just said, “right, OK, bye!” and hung up.

A week later we got an email from them:

I understand that our Sales Manager spoke to you last week regarding the rooms that we’re holding in your block for Friday night June xxth. As we are sold out this night, and no rooms were picked up this past week, the rooms in your block for Friday night have been released. The rooms for Saturday night are still remaining, however at this time, no reservations have been made.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me anytime.

Questions or concerns?! I AM CONCERNED THAT YOU HAVE RELEASED MY ROOMS, JERKS!! There might have been tears on my end (this was also the week my parked car got totaled, so I wasn’t in a great state of mind to begin with). Cinnamon Buns, being the more level-headed one in situations like this, wrote up an email back to them pointing out that we had a contract signed by both parties saying that said rooms would be held until May 24th, a month and a half away.

Lo and behold, Cinnamon Buns’ email got this reply after a few days:

A large group that was holding rooms over your block dates has released some of the rooms that they were holding therefore I was able to add rooms back into your block for the Friday night. The rooms for the Saturday night are also still holding for you therefore your guests should have no problems making their guest room reservations.

I do apologize for any concerns that this may have caused.

”˜Larger group’ my bum. So we had our rooms back, but obviously no one had booked, and we had a really bad taste in our mouths about the whole thing.

In the few days between Cinnamon Buns sending his email, and receiving the reply above, we started looking into new hotels. We went to the Fairmont Palliser where Cinnamum had booked our rooms, to see what they could do. We went in with the sob story of, “we had a block, but the hotel canceled on us, what will we do, oh woe is us,” because I was determined to make the other hotel’s mistake work in our favour. And you know what? It did! The Fairmont didn’t ask which hotel screwed us over (very polite) but they did ask us the rate we had been given, and they gave us that rate for our guests at their hotel for 5 nights! From Thursday through Monday! Talk about going above and beyond. We had two contract options with them: guaranteed X number of rooms, where we (Cinnamon Buns and I) would be responsible for paying for any rooms in the block that weren’t booked by the wedding weekend, or a rate guarantee, where our people can get that rate as long as there are appropriate rooms available in the hotel. She also let us know that the hotel was fairly empty so far that weekend. We went with option #2, so we wouldn’t be on the hook for any costs.

Then we heard back from hotel #1 about how their big group “canceled.” That put us in a dilemma. We had two hotel blocks: one at a hotel that we wanted people to stay at, and one at a hotel we didn’t want to bring more business to AND we were worried that they might try and screw with our guests. But that ”˜bad’ hotel was plastered all over our invites.

In the end, we contacted everyone we could, and set our mums to contact the families, telling them about the new hotel. We also kept our wedding website up-to-date with what was going on, and as soon as the Fairmont stuff was done, we completely updated our accommodation page to reflect the changes. We did not, however, ever cancel the block at our original hotel, just in case someone didn’t get the word. May 24th has come and gone, and still no one has booked, so the rooms are released and I don’t have to think about them again!

And that’s the saga of our hotel block. It was a lot of added stress right when I didn’t need it, but I’m happy that everyone will be staying at the same hotel, and that the Fairmont was so accommodating. I feel very fancy-pants saying that I am staying in a suite there!

Did you have any unnecessary vendor drama? Did you work it out with them or take your business elsewhere?

BLOGGER

Mrs. Cinnamon Bun

Location:
Calgary, Alberta
Wedding Date:
June 2011

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  1. Member
    aquawater 272 posts, Helper bee @ 12:21 pm

    Ugh! I’m so glad you don’t have to deal with Hotel #1 anymore. I’d be so ticked. :) That Fairmont hotel sounds awesome though; what a great place to be staying for your wedding!

  2. Member
    SuperShopper 866 posts, Busy bee @ 12:23 pm

    Wow! What a run-around! So glad it worked out in the end :)

  3. Guest Icon Guest
    KMA, Guest @ 12:25 pm

    Why are hotels such a pain in the A? I had the most trouble with the hotel too and I thought they would be the easiest!!! Jeezze! Glad you got it worked out.

  4. Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 12:32 pm

    That’s awful! I’m glad a deserving establishment will be receiving your business.

  5. Member
    blu77 1044 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:34 pm

    Wow, so glad you found a much more professional hotel to work with!! Kudos to your mom!

  6. Guest Icon Guest
    Sara, Guest @ 12:41 pm

    YAY for amazing Fairmont customer service!! I can’t believe the audacity of the other hotel, but to be fair, the few instances I’ve dealt with hotels on room blocks have never been positive. Hopefully we’ll luck out and find some amazing people like you did… and the Fairmont will be AH-MAZ-ING for you and your guests!

  7. Member
    elephant 6339 posts, Bee Keeper @ 12:42 pm

    I’m glad things worked that you were able to work with another hotel instead of the first one.

  8. Member
    trailmix 6663 posts, Bee Keeper @ 12:51 pm

    Ooooof, that sounds stressful!! Glad the story has a happy ending tho!

  9. Member
    pookiepie 317 posts, Helper bee @ 12:59 pm

    glad that everything turned out well!

  10. Member
    mrsbowieii 704 posts, Busy bee @ 1:00 pm

    Im sorry that things got so stressful for you and I’m happy that everything worked out…

    I totally understand you taking your business elsewhere. I had ordered jewelry they took my mom only to tell me the jewelry was back ordered but everytime I would receive an “update” about my order they would try to sell me more jewelry but nothing on the original order unless I inquired about it. After a week of going back and forth I was told that it was discontinued in the color that I asked for but I could order another set of jewelry if I liked… I just took my money because she never had the jewelry in stock.

    Sorry so long.

  11. Member
    mrsbowieii 704 posts, Busy bee @ 1:01 pm

    *money not mom

  12. Member
    Miss Britt 915 posts, Busy bee @ 1:06 pm

    We stayed at the Fairmont in San Jose and it was an amazing hotel! I love them, and it’ll be such a great place the night before and of your wedding.

    Boo to that other hotel for being such jerks, I’m glad you guys moved and and got such a good deal!

  13. Member
    TheFutureMcBride 4485 posts, Honey bee @ 1:09 pm

    So glad everything worked out.

  14. Member
    ashley1001 489 posts, Helper bee @ 1:31 pm

    I had a very similar situation happen to me!! From the start of booking the rooms to the actual wedding month, the hotel went through 3 different sales people! Every time someone called to book a room, they were told that the block was full (even though no one had booked a room!). I talked to them SEVERAL times about this and that they were turning down my guests! Then, the night of our wedding (which we were staying at the same hotel), we had to switch rooms three times!!! Either because there were bugs, no cable, doors didn’t lock, etc. Worst part – they didn’t comp our room! I guess if I had dealt with the same person the whole time and raised a huge fit, they may have. I guess they won’t get my business anymore!!

  15. Member
    future.mrs.awe 90 posts, Worker bee @ 1:32 pm

    That sounds just awful. :( The hotel I picked as our “primary” hotel, where I will stay with my BM’s the night before and my new hubby will stay the night of our wedding, has had several issues with our block and their website (though my room block’s website even) says that there are no rooms available. Excuse me? What about those rooms I RESERVED?! Hopefully this doesn’t cause more issues down the line. If it does, I have two more hotel blocks ready to go!

  16. Member
    highwire 1021 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:40 pm

    Ugh! This sounds so frustrating. What a nightmare. I’ve also had a little bit of issue with our room block contract but I’m hoping the worst is behind us now.

  17. Member
    cabana_girl 26 posts, Newbee @ 4:09 pm

    Omgoodness! Can you PM me the name of the hotel so that I don’t use them???

    Thanks!

  18. Member
    eeper 129 posts, Blushing bee @ 4:51 pm

    I don’t understand why hotels are like this sometimes. My drama was much smaller but did cause at least 10 minutes of agita! We blocked rooms for Thurs – Sat for our Friday wedding. We got a ridiculously cheap rate, which was a fantastic surprise. My husband’s immediate family was going to come into town on Wed. When they tried to book, the staff told them it would be $350+ for Wed, while it was $89 for the rest of the week. We called the manager who set up our block the next day and she took care of it (gave the family the same rate for Wed), but it had my sister-in-law completely freaking out and trying to plan a detour to another state to avoid paying so much.

    I understand many people are not “authorized” to make certain decisions, but they that does not mean they can’t use their brains. Yeesh.

  19. Member
    snowcone 1141 posts, Bumble bee @ 5:54 pm

    ugh, hotel blocks can be so frustrating. glad you got yours worked out!

  20. Member
    miss.qwerty 206 posts, Helper bee @ 7:40 pm

    Hotel #1 sounds so frustrating – and unprofessional about the way they handled that, too. Glad that the second hotel seems to have more than made up for it.

  21. Member
    sapphirelady15 298 posts, Helper bee @ 8:25 pm

    I am elated at the fact that someone else in the world knows what Fawlty Towers is. Love the title reference!!!!!

    Good luck with your hotel dilemma!

  22. Member
    cinnamonbun 1116 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:44 pm

    @sapphirelady15: I was hoping someone would recognize it! I decided to play it subtle, so only the most dedicated would understand. ;)

  23. Member
    Kcoleybear 683 posts, Busy bee @ 2:00 pm

    I am so glad this all worked out. I am currently thinking about adding a second hotel block for our destination wedding.

  24. Member
    mak418 355 posts, Helper bee @ 7:32 pm

    I love the Fawlty Towers reference too! (I’m just catching up on my WB – I got behind…) :P

  25. Member
    gazelle 1019 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:17 pm

    Wow, how unprofessional of the first hotel! Glad the Fairmont treated you better. They may be hoity toity but I’ve managed to get some great rates with them at times and their service is always impeccable. I’m sure everyone will love the Palliser!

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